Mad Love by Suzanne Selfors is about sixteen year old Alice, the daughter of the bestselling Queen of Romance Belinda Amourous! Only Belinda has been hospitalized with bi-polar disorder and her next book is due, the bills are piling up, and Alice is in over her head trying to weave lies to keep Belinda’s reputation while she gets better. As Alice struggles she meets Errol, a guy claiming to be Cupid (the Cupid) and he wants Alice to write his love story! The story of him and Psyche. Soon Alice is hearing Errol’s voice in her head and seeing things she can’t explain, she must face the truth – that she’s either going mad herself, or Errol is for real – Synopsis from the book jacket.
What initially drew me to this book was that it’s by Suzanne Selfors. I read “Saving Juliet” a few years ago and loved it so when I saw this book I was instantly up for it. You may have seen my last post about “Kissing in Italian” how I was looking for a romantic kind of heartwarming thing? This book is what I was looking for.
From the opening lines “”Behold,” the Queen of Romance declared as she gazed upon her baby girl’s face for the very first time. “I have given birth to a new story, and I shall name this story ‘Alice.'”” to the last lines (which I won’t repeat here you’ll have to read yourself to find that) I was hooked. I usually read books in one sitting (it’s kind of my thing, set aside a night, read a book, move on) this was no exception. I read this book in one evening and processed it overnight. I loved the characters, not just Alice and Errol but Mrs. Bobot, Reverend Ruttles, Archibald, Tony, Realm, Belinda… each character made me feel something. Annoyance, love, sympathy, hope… I wanted this cast of characters to follow me around and help me along in life. I loved the story (Cupid and Psyche, Alice and Errol, Alice and Tony, Alice and Belinda) every element to me felt like a hug. Like someone wrapped me in a blanket and gave me soup. Especially Mrs. Bobot, which I could easily see her doing to by the way.
The book deals with mental illness in a really good way I think, and fairly unique (or I’m just not reading a lot of books about mental illness). I think it accurately represents the stigma of mental illness. Belinda wanting to hide her disorder from her fans and the world, Alice desperate to keep her secret, the way other characters throw out the word “crazy”. It was heartbreaking to feel Alice’s stress and to see the way she goes through denial of all the pressures on her.
One element I think I would have liked to see more of is the Tony’s character. I felt he was a bit too… plot device (I’m sure there’s a better word for that). His character was a bit flat at times and he seemed very convenient which I know I shouldn’t be complaining about in a book that’s literally about destiny and fate. But I guess I’m little bit like Alice at heart.
I loved the ending. The middle. The beginning. I loved every side character, they all had backstories and were rich and full of personality. I think every side character could have been explored even more but this wasn’t their stories it was Alice’s.
I just really liked this book. I wish I could pinpoint a better reason for you except it felt like being trapped in a tomb and then hearing someone call your name but you’re too afraid to hope then being set free and wrapped in a blanket surrounded by love.